You probably already know this, but there are more chickens in the world than there are humans. In fact, there are 9 billion of them in the U.S. alone. That said, apparently newly laid chicken eggs are incredibly susceptible to infection. The way industrial hen houses wash them strips them of a natural protective coating, leaving the embryo within exposed to all kinds of bad things.
Dr. Craig Coufal, a scientist at Texas A&M’s poultry science department, has created an egg sanitizer that cleans the eggs with UV light and hydrogen peroxide, killing harmful bacteria without disturbing the natural protective coating. Yes, the chicks saved by this process will likely grow up to be eaten by humans anyway, but with about 90 million of them dying from infection each year, the poultry industry is seeing huge financial losses and waste. “If we could just cut that one percent loss in half, it would represent substantial savings to the industry,” Coufal says. And don’t forget, chickens can help save the planet.
If you don’t like the poultry industry and don’t care if it loses money, or you’re a vegan, there’s always the most realistic fake eggs you’ll ever taste.
Maybe we’ll see Mr. Coufal on 2014’s list of Most Creative People.